Canada unfurled the welcome mat to a record number of immigrants this year — the highest in its 154-year history.
Canadian authorities welcomed 401,000 permanent residents, the federal government announced Thursday, topping a record set in 1913 when 400,000 immigrants were granted the right to live in the country, according to a report. Permanent residents can apply for social benefits in the country but cannot vote in federal elections.
“Last year, we set an ambitious goal. Today, we achieved it,” Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser said in a statement. “This is a historic moment for our country, as we welcome the highest number of newcomers in one year in our history.”
Although the new figure was not broken down by specific countries, the new immigrants hailed from China, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey and the US, among others.
Immigrants who arrived during World War I were mainly from the United Kingdom and Europe.
Immigration to the country counts for 100 percent of its labor force growth, and by 2036, newcomers will account for 30 percent of the Canadian population of just over 38 million, Fraser said.
One in three Canadian businesses is owned by an immigrant, and one in four of the newcomers work in health care, he said.